With summer approaching, warm weather and vacation time will be plenty of reason for more Americans to hit the roadways, including those who choose to travel on two wheels. During the summer months, North Carolina and other neighboring states see an influx of motorcycle riders, some of whom are passing through on long road trips, attending local bike rallies and motorcycle events, or simply enjoying the warm weather on the open road. However you choose to enjoy your time on your bike, our legal team at The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor wants you to remember that safety should always be the primary focus.
If you or a loved one are a motorcycle enthusiast or enjoy getting out on your bike from time to time, you are well aware of the risks riders face. In fact, motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable people on public roads and highways, simply because they have no protection to shield them during collisions, including collisions with motorists who cause preventable wrecks as a result of their negligence or wrongful acts.
Because you can’t rely on others to operate their vehicles safely at all times, all riders who plan on hitting the road this summer should remind themselves of a few importing riding tips:
- Vigilance – Ask any rider and they will tell you that being vigilant and aware of your surroundings is the most important thing you can do on the road. In fact, experts always recommend that motorcyclists ride even more defensively than they drive simply because a lot of drivers are not looking for riders on the road. This means never anticipating that a motorist is going to obey the law, see you as a rider, or make sound driving decisions. Instead, rely on your vigilance to ensure you know where all motor vehicles are located around you, and to anticipate any actions they may make. This is especially important when passing vehicles, making turns, and approaching and entering intersections.
- See and be seen – As part of remaining vigilant, you want to ensure that you see your surroundings and other motorists nearby. In addition, you want to ensure that motorists see you. Wearing bright clothing or reflective gear can be helpful in increasing visibility, but making sure that drivers see you is an entirely different way of ensuring your visibility. You can achieve this by avoiding blind spots, following at a safe distance, and alerting drivers about your intent to move or turn by turning your head and looking where you intend to go. When pulling out into traffic, making turns, and entering intersections, you can also look closely at drivers to ensure they make eye contact with you or see that you are nearby. You want drivers to pay attention.
- Pre-ride inspections – Whether you use your bike regularly or need to dust off your ride come summer, you should always fully inspect your bike before getting on. In addition to checking critical safety features such as tires, brakes, mirrors, signals, and lights, be sure to check your chain or belt if you have a chain driven bike, as a belt in bad condition or one that is poorly adjusted can lead to wrecks. You should also inspect your bike for signs of leaking fluid or oil, and have it inspected by a professional if necessary.
- Know local laws – If your summer riding plans have you headed out of state, be sure to acquaint yourself with local laws. This includes helmet laws, as some states may or may not require all riders, particularly experienced riders over a certain age, to wear DOT-approved helmets (you should still always ride with a helmet, as doing so can save your life). Some states may also have different rules about mirrors and whether your bike needs to have them, or about splitting lanes in traffic.
- Ride sober – Just as any motorcycle rider would want the vehicles they share the road with to be driven by sober motorists who have full grasp of their mental faculties, motorcyclists should obey the rules of the road and keep others safe by always riding sober. If you have plans to celebrate or attend an event, make sure drinking takes place after your riding for the day is done, and that you have a safe ride home. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drunk riding remains a serious concern and cause for thousands of preventable wrecks. What’s more, the NHTSA reports that almost half of all single-motorcycle crashes involve a rider who was impaired by alcohol at the time.
Even when safety is the primary focus, laws are obeyed, and motorcyclists ride with the utmost vigilance, motorcycle accidents can still take place when others on the road are negligent. This is especially true when drunk, distracted, or careless drivers head out on the open road. When negligence causes your motorcycle wreck and injuries, however, you have a right to take legal action and pursue a personal injury case against the at-fault party in order to recover your damages.
Have questions about protecting your right to financial compensation following a wreck? Our Hickory motorcycle accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, P.C. are readily available to take your call and help. We have more than a century of experience, and focus on providing the personalized service victims and families throughout the Carolinas need when seeking a recovery of their damages. Contact us for a free consultation.